Google+ Authentic Parenting: Let’s Get Smarter About Our Smartphones

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Let’s Get Smarter About Our Smartphones

written by Liz Cohen

Hey, ‘modern moms’ - that sounds like a good classification for the lives we try to keep balanced, right? For instance, I work my days as a full-time marketing manager, my afternoons as a full-time children’s entertainer, my evenings as a full-time sheep herder, and no matter what time of day it is, I’m a full-time mom. 
Image: philcampbell on Flickr
Level with me, fellow mamas: How do we manage to do it? Maybe I speak for a lot of us when I say I keep it (somewhat) together with my smartphone (an Android) - for work, for play, for distracting my kids, for finding out what happens when it gets dropped too many times… it’s constantly attached to me. 
And, probably like every other multitasking mom out there, I often find myself taking a breath between daycare pickups wondering… is this lifestyle ok? There have been a lot of articles in mainstream media lately about cell phone radiation… How is it affecting us long term? Is it a greater risk for our kids? How much smartphone radiation exposure is dangerous?  And, if too much exposure is an actual risk, how on earth would I even keep track? 
Luckily, I’m a researching kinda gal so I’ll share the lowdown in a nutshell: Cell phone radiation happens because information has to be passed between your phone and base stations with high-frequency electromagnetic fields (the phone’s ‘connection’). Our phones have to work harder when they don’t have easy access to the signal from cell towers. When they work harder, our exposure to the radiation is greater. 
Study after study has been trying to prove what many suspect - a clear connection between our cell phone radiation exposure and health risks, brain cancer being a notorious one (and ADHD through pregnant mothers a recent finding). On top of that, many a researcher believes the risks are definitely greater for our children who use cell phones, whose growing bones, tissue and brains are way more sensitive to harmful factors. 
So while experts can’t warn us of specific risks with 100% certainty, there is a growing movement to practice the precautionary principle: lead a lifestyle that encourages preventing the exposure where possible, especially in our children. Use a headset or speakerphone instead of holding the handset to your ear. If the reception’s no good, try moving location. Or download a mobile app like tawkon, which alerts you when your exposure becomes too high so you can make instant changes during a call.
In the parents’ community, we’re all working full-time, whether it’s as corporate employees, freelancers, or, well, parental sleep shepherds and soccer practice stain-removers. Ditching our cell phones just isn’t in the cards for most of us. But we can be smarter about the way use our smartphones, especially with our kids. 

About the author:
Liz Cohen works with the tawkon team, promoting smartphone health with a mobile app that alerts users when their exposure to cell phone radiation reaches high levels. Oh, and she's a dedicated mama with a smartphone.



  1. Please post references to studies cited. Thanks. :)

    1. Hi Gleamer! Here's where you can find more info about studies and related articles: - if you scroll down, you'll see The Debate section, and from there you can click the four buttons for menus of articles with info about research, legislation, kids, etc.

  2. My husband is a bit more overcautious than I am regarding cell phones. Thankfully he looked up our phones and noted that they have much lower frequencies than other types. I try to get in the habit of turning on my phone's "airplane mode" when I'm sleeping so that it's offline at least some part of the day, especially when it's sitting right next to my head lol. As far as my kid, he doesn't use cell phones or iPads just yet.

    1. Great! Here's a list as of March 2012 which lists some of the lowest-SAR phones:


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